Mark Jay Horowitz, longtime resident of Milwaukee’s East Side, passed away on September 13, 2023. Mark was born in Queens, New York on April 17, 1946. His was a loving family of modest means but lots of passion – for education, for music and for social justice. He was educated in the NYC public schools and he was a staunch advocate of public education all of his life. He went to college at the University of Rochester, then joined Volunteers in Service to America and worked in Milwaukee’s Latino community (he was fluent in Spanish). He took advantage of a Milwaukee Public School program that was recruiting college graduates without education degrees and training them “on the job” because of the severe teacher shortage in the 1960s. He thought he would “try it for a few years” but ended up finding his life’s passion. He loved being a teacher and resisted multiple suggestions that he consider becoming a principal, because he never wanted to leave the classroom. He taught for 10 years at Keefe Avenue School and 35 years at Golda Meir School before retiring in 2013. He was an innovative educator who strove to provide meaningful experiences for his students, receiving multiple awards for his work. He is perhaps best known for establishing, in 1994, with longtime friend, Lis Faerch, a partnership between Golda Meir school and Dyssegardskolen, an elementary school outside of Copenhagen, where he would take his fourth-grade students for two weeks each year. The program resulted in lifelong trans-Atlantic friendships and many students, now adults, have described the trip as life-changing.
The only thing that Mark was more passionate about than teaching was his family. He and his wife, Mary, were married for 49 years. He was a loving and supportive partner, encouraging and enabling her to pursue her own career. He was a wonderful, very present father to their three children. He was the one who took them to Suzuki music lessons, dance lessons, theater rehearsals, sports and a myriad of other after-school activities. He coached their baseball, basketball and soccer teams. He adored his two grandchildren and loved reading to them, playing sports with them and listening to them play the piano. He was devoted to his parents and to his three siblings and was the kind of uncle who really wanted to know about what was going on in the lives of his nieces and nephews.
Mark was active in the community, coaching youth soccer even after his children had grown and serving for many years as Director of the East Region of the Milwaukee Kickers as well as volunteering with Lake Park Friends. He loved classical music, traveling and Vincent van Gogh.
Sadly, Mark was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2008, which forced him to retire in 2013 and which eventually took his life. Despite his dementia, Mark remained devoted to his family and was kind to and appreciative of the caretakers that he eventually needed – treating them as guests in his home. His family is very grateful for the staff from Horizon who made it possible for Mark to remain at home for most of his illness, especially Pam Guldan, who became a part of our family, and who continued to be with him almost daily after his condition required a move to Eastcastle Place. They are also grateful for the caring staff at Eastcastle who supported both Mark and his wife through the difficult final year of his life.
Mark is survived by his wife Mary (nee Maresca) Horowitz, his children, Jason (Kerry Burke), Sarah (Derek Ford) and Joe Horowitz, his grandchildren, Molly and Finnegan, his siblings Miriam Meisler, Susan Horowitz, and Rey Horowitz (Gabrielle Prisco) and a large circle of extended family, friends and children whose lives he touched. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation (Mark Horowitz-Golda Meir School Fund, 234 W. Galena Street, Milwaukee, 53212) or to Lake Park Friends (92975 N Lake Park Rd, Milwaukee 53211). There will be a celebration of Mark’s life at Northshore Funeral Services Chapelon Saturday, October 7th with visitation from 1:30-3:00PM and a memorial service starting at 3:00 PM.
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